A Time for Everything: Flourishing Landscapes in Every Season



On the first day in early spring when the weather is warm enough to shed a coat, students can be found spreading blankets on the front lawn, hanging hammocks from the tall trees and enjoying the sunshine together. 

Spring is an exciting time as flowers begin to bloom and everything turns green. To prepare for this season of new life, the grounds crew cleans out the flower beds and replaces winter plants with those that flourish in warmer weather. They put out new seeds for grass and enjoy the first colors of the season as the daffodils and crocuses begin to bloom. 

During Spring Sing weekend, alumni and friends flood the campus, and the beautiful azaleas become the perfect backdrop for family photos. The high energy of the show is enhanced by the vibrant colors bursting from every corner of the grounds.




Although summer on campus is quieter without students, it is perhaps the busiest season for the grounds crew. Ample sun helps the plants thrive, so they need constant attention to keep from getting out of control. Just mowing all the grass is a two-week process, and as soon as it’s finished, they must begin again. 

Student worker Jadyn Wilhite enjoys mowing yards for the president and first lady and also residence hall coordinators. He loves the satisfaction of a job well done. As a biochemistry and molecular biology major, Wilhite looks for opportunities to rest and recharge after a difficult class or exam. “When things are hard at school, I can let my thoughts be free and just relax while I’m mowing,” he says. Even in the busiest season, working outside helps him connect with God. 





Fall is beautiful as the temperatures drop and campus begins to change colors. It’s a season full of family gatherings like Lectureship and Homecoming as well as football games and tailgates. Bison fans are decked out in black and gold, complemented by the trees’ new fall color palette. The grounds crew is busy cleaning out leaves, pruning and replacing the flower beds with heartier varieties that thrive in the winter. 

Student worker Jacob Hernandez loves the fall. At home in Costa Rica, the seasons are wet and dry, so he enjoys seeing things change more often here. He still doesn’t like the cold, so fall is the perfect compromise. As a business management major, Hernandez enjoys working outside and also learning skills he will need to help run the construction business his family owns after graduation.  





Winter is a season of rest as students, faculty and staff spend more time indoors. Most plants are dormant, and the grounds crew slows down, focusing on protecting the plants and preparing for the coming spring. 

Director of grounds beautification Joe Burton’s favorite season is winter. He sees it as an opportunity to be still and pursue God. This is a time to “contemplate the connection between personal responsibility and hope,” he says. “The beauty of spring is born from the work of fall and sleep of winter. … None of us living things are designed to bloom all the time. We all need rest.”

This slower season is made magical by 500,000 lights adorning the campus during the holidays. Sharing this festive tradition with our Harding family and the local White County communities makes winter even more special. 


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